The next morning Idira got up early. She slid out of the bed she shared with Myra and tiptoed out into the main room. Myra had made up Papa's cot, but it hadn't been slept in. That was strange. Papa always came home. Even if he was a little scary, he never left them alone at night. Well it was morning now, and they were alright. She decided to worry about him later, her guilt over the murloc had kept her awake half the night. She had to know who won. She slipped out of the house and made her way to the cliff path, just as the sun began to breach the horizon. She stopped at the top of the path. A pile of rocks stood in the middle of the path. That was new. She looked around, trying to figure out who had put it there, but as always, the windswept cliff-edge was barren of life. Even the vultures were still sleeping.
She edged closer to the pile, narrowing her eyes in the half-light. Perched on its top lay a sea shell, the prettiest one she had ever seen. She picked it up, admiring it. Pure white on the outside, its inside glowed a soft pink colour and twisted away into itself. It was as big as her hand. She smiled, delighted, doing a little jig. She looked around for Benny. It must have been Benny, no one else could have done it.
Movement by the side of the path startled her. She waited, a little afraid. One of the murlocs emerged from the long grasses, holding something in its hands. She took a step back, frightened. It said something, a little gargle, soft, like a question. She stepped closer. It had cuts and gouges all over its fish-like body, but none of them looked serious. It lifted its funny three fingered hands up to her, holding a big crab, still moving. It set the crab on the path and took one of the rocks from the pile. It lifted the rock and slammed it down in exactly the right place, killing it. It looked up at her with one of its eyes and pointed at the crab, then her house, before gurgling a little more and backing into the grass.
Idira crept forward and knelt to pick up the crab. It was heavy. Bigger than anything her crab pots could catch. Her sea shell wobbling on the top of the crab's back, she went home. A murloc had brought her a crab. It was a little strange, but she was grateful. She set the crab on the table, and started the work of cleaning it. Myra would be happy. Idira smiled a little as she prised the meat from the shell. Maybe her sister would be nice to her today when she saw what Idira had brought home. She wouldn't tell her about the murloc though. Idira was pretty sure Myra wouldn't believe her and anyway, she didn't want Benny to find out about her new friend. He might hurt it.
Later, as the crab meat simmered in the cooking pot filling the house with delicious smells, Idira idled on the porch, laying on her stomach, kicking her legs in the air. She held the sea shell to her ear listening to the magical sounds inside, thinking about her sudden murloc friend. A shout came from the distance. She looked up. His head hanging, her father limped, supported by Benny across the barren fields. Benny called again, bellowing and gesturing at Idira to get Myra. Blood stains soaked their clothes and cuts and bruises peppered their faces and arms. Dark streaks of blood stained Papa's face from a deep gash on the top of his head.
Her heart in her throat, Idira jumped up, calling for Myra, but her sister was already running out of the house wiping her hands on her apron. She made a strange choking sound and rushed down the steps, tripping over the hem of her skirts as she ran across the dusty field. Idira could hear her calling their names, over and over, panicking. She reached them and put herself under Papa's other arm, helping Benny carry him.
Idira couldn't just stand there staring, so she ran to get a bucket of water from the well. She could heat up some water, that would be helpful. She lugged the heavy bucket into the kitchen and ladled it into a big pot on the pot belly stove. A racket came from the porch as the others struggled to get Papa up the steps. Idira ran to the door and held it open wide. Benny came in first, sideways, then Papa, and finally Myra. Idira blinked back tears, there was a lot of blood all over both of them. She hoped Benny wouldn't die.
'Benny are you okay?' she asked, her eyes widening at the deep cuts on his muscled arms.
'Aye, I'll be fine, don't ye be worrying about me. Let's get yer Papa sorted, he's taken the worst of it.' He eased Papa onto the cot and began stripping him. Papa's belt and boots hit the floor with heavy thuds. Idira scrambled to move them out of the way.
Benny glanced at Myra and gave her a quick kiss. 'Don't be fretting, love. Yer Pa's a tough man, he'll come through this. He took down a fair few o' the bastards before he fell. Mr VanCleef wants him to work for him now, high up like. Working for VanCleef means money ain't going to be a problem fer yer Pa anymore. Trust me, I know.'
Idira stayed out of the way, waiting for the water to heat, listening as the two worked to get Papa ready to be washed.
'Orders are ye're going to move south, ta Moonbrook. VanCleef is sending some men round with a wagon so get yer things in order. It'll be tomorrow morning latest. After what happened, the Stormwind guards are going to be coming this way soon.'
Move? Idira didn't want to move. What about the crab pots, and her murloc friend?
She stepped closer and tugged on Benny's torn sleeve. He turned.
'Why do we have to move? What happened?'
A sharp cuff smacked the back of her head. Idira rubbed the sore spot, her eyes watering.
'Oh hush yer mouth Idira,' Myra snapped. 'Just do as yer told, and get some hot water for Papa.'
'Oi! She's allowed to ask why, she is leavin' her home after all.' Benny knelt down beside Idira, and looked her right in the eyes. Benny never ever said anything mean about her purple eyes, not like Myra and Papa.
'The money what was owed to your Papa, well him and a lot of others found out last night they would never be paid, ever. So they went to Stormwind and there was some fighting with the nobles what wouldn't pay. The good queen Tiffin, she took our side, but she got hurt real bad and died on the spot. And now, them bastards is blaming us Westfall boys for her death. We gotta gather up in one spot. Moonbrook is far enough away, and we can allus hide in the mines if need be, at least till we get organised.'
He stood up. 'And you mark my words, VanCleef is goin' ta get us organised.' He smashed his fist into his palm. 'One way or another Stormwind is goin' to pay.'